Monday, February 19, 2007

PennDems Endorse Michael Nutter for Mayor

PennDems Endorse Michael Nutter for Mayor
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASECONTACT: MUKUL SHARMA
Phone: 816.686.0729
UNIVERSITY CITY, PHILADELPHIA – February 13, 2007 – The University of Pennsylvania Democrats are proud to announce their endorsement of Michael A. Nutter for Philadelphia Mayor. Nutter -- a lifetime Philadelphia resident and Penn graduate with an accomplished career of public service, business, and financial administration -- impressed the student organization's members with his reform agenda.
Councilman Nutter supports the gradual elimination of the Business Privilege Tax and adding more uniformed officers to the Philadelphia Police Department. Moreover, his Neighborhood Benefits Strategy would require housing and community development projects financed with federal funds to employ low-income neighborhood residents.
Furthermore, Nutter has long been a voice for reforming Philadelphia politics. He is one of the only candidates for mayor who has pledged to adhere to campaign finance limits enacted three years ago.
Nutter served as a City Councilman for nearly 15 years before resigning to run for Mayor. His tenure was marked by several leadership triumphs, including steering the effort to pass a citywide smoking ban and spearheading the creation of an Ethics Reform Board and Ethics Code to provide routine training for City Officers and officials.
The Penn Democrats -- one of the largest student organizations at the University of Pennsylvania and the 2006 Pennsylvania College Democrats Chapter of the Year -- look forward to assisting Michael Nutter as he seeks to become Mayor of Philadelphia.
Members of the Penn Democrats will knock on doors, write letters, and call voters on Nutter's behalf. These efforts will mirror those taken by the Penn Democrats in 2006, when members knocked on over 15,000 doors for Iraq War Veteran and Congressional Candidate Patrick Murphy in an election he won by fewer than 2,000 votes.
The University of Pennsylvanian Democrats are an organization of progressive college students dedicated to registering voters, educating fellow students, and electing Democrats. For information, please visit www.penndems.org.

3 comments:

cktirumalai said...

I first went to the University of Pennsylvania in 1960, as a graduate student. Every faculty member of the English department, with one exception, was a Republican. When I told one of my Professors that John Kennedy had chosen his book on the American Ballad for the White House library, he immediately said, " I am a Republican of course."

A Big Fat Slob said...

Looks like you on on hiatus. Lemme know when you get active again and I'll get you back on my blogroll.

Ed said...

Fairmount, Philadelphia (04.16.2007) -- The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance and the Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia hosted a mayoral forum on arts and culture issues yesterday. The forum, done in partnership with the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia and Dance/Philadelphia, ran from on Sunday afternoon at the Academy of Natural Sciences on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Despite the poor weather, attendance was high.

The major Democratic candidates, Tom Brady, Tom Knox, Michael Nutter, Chaka Fattah, and Dwight Evans were all invited. Evans and Brady did not appear and forwarded no reason. Al Taubenberger, the lone Republican candidate, briefly spoke before the Q&A session between the panelists and Democratic candidates began.

The “It’s About the Arts!” forum was moderated by Steve Highsmith, a political reporter at NBC10 and myphl17's Director of Community Relations. Other panelists included Lorene Cary, Executive Director of Art Sanctuary and author, Dr. Happy Fernandez, president of the Moore College of Art & Design and Steve Wray, Executive Director of the Economy League.

The three candidates fielded a number of questions provided by the three panelists related to arts and arts funding in Philadelphia. I went to the event with very little concrete knowledge of any of the candidates and didn't expect to come away with too much of an opinion of them afterwards. Given the limited scope of discussion, the arts and funding, I didn't expect to learn enough about each candidate to form a whole picture of what kind of candidate each person would be. I was wrong. I learned quite a lot.

If anything, I had a bias in favor of Knox going into this. I knew that he had owned several businesses and was a self-made man that worked his way from public housing to Rittenhouse Square on his good luck, hard work, and kindly-uncle personality. As a former small business owner, I can appreciate the amount of effort he has put into his work over the past several decades that have lead him to this position in life. I never saw his wealth as a liability -- it was an assurance of his competence and management skills. In a city filled with shady deal making and corrupt connections, I thought I could feel comfortable pulling the lever for a fellow with a resume such as his.

What I learned at the forum: Apparently any idiot in American can become a millionaire.

The first question from the panel asked about the candidate's model city in the U.S. that they would seek to emulate, as far as an arts program. Knox seemed to have never even considered such a question. I am not in the government nor the non-profit sector and I am certainly not involved in the arts. Additionally, I'm not running for mayor. But, at a few points here in there in my life, like on a plane, I have read through an article or three on this or that upcoming city and what they are doing to highlight their arts and culture. Its a topic that comes up when I page through the New Yorker or maybe through a news paper that isn't printed in Pennsylvania. Apparently Knox has never had such experience. His answer seemed to be based upon some recollection he had of driving around New York City showing people museums. This topic would have been a good way to make an impression on the audience right away but he fell flat on his face right out of the gate. It only got worse for him as the day went on.

Every point Knox made should have had this statement tacked on it at the end for the convenience of the listener: "I'm sure I'll figure out this whole government business thing once I get into office."

At the very end of the event the question of whom would be in charge of promoting arts and culture in Philadelphia came up. Will it be a cabinet level position? A managing director? A special assistant to the mayor? I believe Happy Fernandez made some reference to a Secretary, as in a "Secretary of State" sort of secretary. Knox seemed to have gotten confused and started telling some story about having a secretary when he worked at an insurance company. It was an uncomfortable diversion which only got worse when he mentioned that she was taken away from him by management because, with computers, "people can do their own work today." This was the straw the broke the camel's back. I couldn't resist anymore and was forced to ask my wife, "Is he high?"

I went into the forum having a negative view of Fattah and that didn't change. His aloof attitude, no doubt reinforced by being a federal representative, did nothing to help me want to vote for him. And what was his answer to the model US city art's program that he'd want to emulate? Paris. Note to Fattah: Paris is not in the United States.

If every statement Knox made should have been suffixed with a statement regarding his probable inability to find or operate the gears of city government, Fattah's should have been prefixed with a statement regarding his inability to grasp how to fund it.

If the city government had a nickle for every solution that Fattah proposed yesterday that was in some way tied to obtaining tax funds from the suburban counties, we wouldn't have an arts funding deficit -- it could be paid for with by his hot air. Fattah doesn't seem to understand that people do not live outside of Philadelphia by random uncontrolled circumstance. People live outside Philadelphia because they don't want to live in Philadelphia. If its not taxes, its the crime that keeps their mailing address outside of city limits. I'm not really sure what thought process leads him to believe that taxpayers in Montgomery, Bucks, and Delaware County will want to hand over money to a city government that operates one of the most dysfunctional, expensive, underperforming, and explosively violent municipalities in the United States for the purpose of paying the Chamber Orchestra a living wage. Good luck selling that elected officials in the surrounding metropolitan area. (And why you're at it, I have a bridge to sell you.) Additional Note to Fattah: You don't know anything about regional politics and I suspect you know even less about city government. Leave the kind citizens of King of Prussia to their parking lots. We'll take the Liberty Bell and we'll figure out how to pay for it ourselves.

Nutter, by far, is the best candidate for mayor. Why? Because he is obviously the most educated, most qualified and experienced, and most affable of the bunch.

Nutter needed no prefixes or suffixes to his answers. Although his answers were detailed and informed, he could have simply repeated the same statement all afternoon and still left the same impression: "I have been doing this for 15 years." While Knox and Fattah talk about what they will do for libraries, Nutter was able to talk about what he has done for libraries. He shows a clear understanding of how to get things done in this city and the record to show that he has done it. When asked what were the top three things he would do to promote arts and culture in the city, he started off with details on his tax cut record and his plans to continue with increased tax cuts that he has already voted in favor of. (Mr. Nutter: I was one of the guys in the back clapping really loudly.) Tax credits for the creative class wishing to invest in real estate in depressed neighborhoods and marketing Philly as a cheap alternative to NYC for the film industry brought tears to my eyes and a campaign poster to my window!

In case you were wondering, Nutter cited Chicago as a city with an arts program he'd like to emulate. When I visited Chicago in 2002 I took an arts and architectural tour of the city that lasted half of a day. I was so impressed by my experience that since that day I have referred to Chicago in casual conversations as "the city that gets sh*t done." Enough said.

Which lever do I pull and how many times?

Unfortunately, there are no Republicans or Democrats, nor any conservatives or liberals in Philadelphia. There is one party, the Democratic Party, and there are two factions: black and white. This, like every other election, will probably boil down to race. The black vote is split three ways amongst Nutter, Fattah, and Evans. This leaves the white vote to Brady and Knox. At the moment, given the nature of the split field, Knox is leading. Heaven help us.

I am not so cynical as to suggest that one month is not enough time to make up the difference in the polls between Knox and Nutter, so I am a bit encouraged to learn today that Nutter has surged into 2nd place in the polls, although the difference is still pretty wide: Knox is at 27% and Nutter is at 18%

Fattah and Evans -- step aside. Please.

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